Why Get an MBA?

The Value of an MBA Degree

Business woman leading meeting
Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images. Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

An Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is a type of business degree offered through business schools and graduate-level programs at colleges and universities. An MBA can be earned after you have obtained a bachelor's degree or the equivalent. Most students earn their MBA from a full-time, part-time, accelerated, or executive program.

There are many reasons people decide to earn a degree. Most of them are tied in some way to career advancement, career change, a desire to lead, higher earnings, or genuine interest. Let's explore each of these reasons in turn. (When you're finished, be sure to check out the three main reasons why you shouldn't get an MBA.)

Because You Want to Advance Your Career

Although it may be possible to climb the ranks over the years, there are some careers that require an MBA for advancement. A few examples include areas of finance and banking as well as consultancy. Furthermore, there are also some companies that will not promote employees who do not continue or improve education through an MBA program. Earning an MBA does not guarantee career advancement, but it certainly doesn't hurt employment or promotion prospects.

Because You Want to Change Careers

If you are interested in changing careers, switching industries, or making yourself a marketable employee in a variety of fields, an MBA degree can help you do all three. While enrolled in an MBA program, you will have the opportunity to learn general business and management expertise that can be applied to nearly any industry. You may also get the chance to specialize in a particular area of business, such as accounting, finance, marketing, or human resources. Specializing in one area will prepare you to work in that field after graduation regardless of your undergraduate degree or previous work experience. 

Because You Want to Assume a Leadership Role

Not every business leader or executive has an MBA. However, it may be easier to assume or be considered for leadership roles if you have an MBA education behind you. While enrolled in an MBA program, you will study leadership, business, and management philosophies that can be applied to almost any leadership role. Business school may also give you hands-on experience leading study groups, classroom discussions, and school organizations. The experiences that you have in an MBA program can even help you develop entrepreneurial capabilities that might allow you to start your own company. It is not uncommon for business school students to start their own entrepreneurial venture alone or with other students in their second or third year of an MBA program. 

Because You Want to Earn More Money

Earning money is the reason why most people go to work. Money is also the primary reason why some people go to graduate school to obtain more higher education. It's no secret that MBA degree holders tend to have higher earnings than people with a lesser undergraduate degree. According to some reports, average MBAs earn 50 percent more after earning their degree than they did before earning their degree. An MBA degree doesn't guarantee higher earnings - there is no guarantee for that, but it certainly won't hurt your chances of earning more than you do now. 

Because You Are Truly Interested in Studying Business

One of the best reasons to get an MBA is because you are truly interested in studying business administration. If you enjoy the topic and feel like you can increase your knowledge and expertise, pursuing an MBA for the simple sake of getting an education is probably a worthy goal.